Fame to the Fifth – But What Is a Finale Anyway?

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Yes.  I have been avoiding it for sometime now.  Yet, seriously, it has been SIX days since the last show of Fame and yet, STILL, are there words?  Are there the right words?  You can pull, push, tear apart the metaphors, look back on the images, and yet you might come CLOSE, close meaning somewhat in the ballpark of looking back on all the shows and being able to capture a FRACTION of what it felt like to see a transformation occur over that period.

The world doesn’t stop even though it seems to when you are in front of that stage of FAME – look what happened on the outside – Prince – that was a HUGE blow to my psyche when I realized he passed away, the developing drama of the future of the United States amid Trump, Clinton, Bernie, Cruz and more…and these are just two big headlining activities, and yet…those are other blogs…and no sense in avoiding trying to capture April 23rd Fame to the 5th.

As teachers, we’d always joke about when students would see us in the supermarket, and it was like, “Whoa, you are HUMAN!  You get food!  You live outside of the school!  :)”  Okay we get it, seeing teachers outside of school – it was a big deal.  Let’s flip. Seeing students outside of school – it always makes me stop and like, say, what?  So I feel we are in tje same roles.  NOW – whole new picture.  FAME.  After seeing every show – (LOVE) and seeing what individually what actors/actresses, Tech Crew, makeup, costuming, dancers, singers can do – and seeing the other talents that students do outside of FAME?  Then seeing them just day to day?  COMPLETE overhaul when I see them outside in the halls as like, you know, normal students.  It changes everything.  I saw one in the lab taking the NWEA and I waved but wanted to just go over and tackle her and be “YES – you were AMAZING – I loved it, I love this, I loved that, but of course – WEIRDING out those same individuals is not on my checklist. 

It is just this point (there IS one) – what happened that very first day I saw rehearsals, then as I saw the changes through each show – it amplified this last show, because you have memories of the run of this show, that includes the things you bring with you to the last show from previous shows, it becomes emotional, meaningful, and unable to truly put into words.  You could maybe paint a picture, take a picture, and say write a blog (HA!) but yet, ANYTHING you do, will come short of truly capturing that moment.  Now, I am speaking as an audience member, not one of those involved, so you can imagine.  So much so, I couldn’t hang around the lobby at the final show, just COULD NOT DO IT ; I am not good, AT ALL, at saying goodbye, in fact, I sometimes don’t.  I believe there are no goodbyes if we keep to our promises of revisiting the moments that made us feel alive, and I was not ready to say goodbye to FAME.  And yes, I felt alive for a hundred million, billion reasons, and yes, I felt like I was going to live forever.

There always is a back up story to almost any event that occurs in my life  Not sure how that works out.  (Shoulder shrug).  I get into a cab at 4:00 for the 6:00 show thinking, yes, early, behind the stage, early actors/actresses pictures tons of time before the 6:00 start.  The cab driver, every time I say “Observatorio”, takes me further away.  I mean further – other side of Doctores, construction sites.  I ask him, if he understand Doctores is BEHIND  us, and yet he picks this crazy place and then heads towards the airport AWAY from Observatorio.  I am panicking only for the fact that, I am thinking, an HOUR LATER, 5:00 and I am still working this older cab driver into some sort of sanity – NOT WORKING.  I am going to miss this last show ?  Seriously?  HECK NO.  I tell him to stop.  he says HERE?  In the middle of the street?  I say YES, NOW.  He stops, I jump out, TOTALLY IRRITATED, run down three blocks, my camera in tow, see a “normal” looking cab, say Doctores, Hospital ABC, and it looks like we are in business.  Twenty minutes later, I am ready to give this drive three thousand pesos just because I made it.  Only me.  No chance to take backstage, behind the scenes photos, (irritated)… but I tool to the high level to take high from the ground shots. I hoped it would work.  Onto the show so we say…

You HAVE to love the changes you witness in the last show.  In this case, from the Tech all coming out on stage saying NO! to bringing more light to Joe Vegas’s “confessional”, did you notice the spotlights made a heart around Nick and Serena when put together, oin their scene?  I had NO CLUE until the last show, to the mysterious janitor that manages to direct thing  (hmmmmm ) – I LOVE how Iris becomes a “priest” (look closely at her collar in Mabel’s scene) – LOVE, to the near catch/Fall  that Arturo and Sara had at the end (HOLY MOTHER OF FAME I ALMOST PASSED OUT) to waittttt – wasn’t there a conversation on a walkie talkie in one of the first shows with Arturo? – okay look.  You have this flooding of all the previous memories you have, of the previous shows when you see these cool things happening in the LAST show, and all these things just – just – it is an onrush of so many emotions and experiences, trying to contain all the never to – happen again – things – it is hard to try and contain all this and be able to represent it again.  Yet – there is this sweet bitter-sweet realization…

You are part of something bigger than yourself when you have the invitation and opportunity to see a transformation over a full show production, and I have experienced it  EVERY SINGLE TIME when I go to see every show.  After a bit, it never seems like a marathon or an endurance test, it is a reward to be invited into a personal arena of these young artists and be able to share a portion of what they are feeling, I mean, it makes life so much richer to have this experience.  I am more grateful to everyone to be allowed to share something so powerful.  But that realization I mentioned awhile back?

Sure there is an A and B cast, people are double cast and yet – each individual, on their own, has these AMAZING – unique abilities of their own, to just NAIL their role, and YET – in this case, and in some past shows, their unique, individual talents and ability to represent the production at hand, if done well and filled with heart, blends together and as a unit, is more powerful than the individual qualities they each bring to each show.  Such was the case again with this last show, and with the whole run of Fame for 2016.  The ability to realize how talented they are on stage, then to see them off stage, and to realize how powerful they are all together, both on stage and off – that is ALOT to take in – ALOT.    I still have one more blog post to go to celebrate the second half of the IB Visual Exhibition, and some of those artists are overlap of FAME, which is yet another example of amazingness you see – for some of these actors/actresses on and off stage in FAME, you wonder – do they even realize how much this translates to those watching them?  The carry over from stage to other talents off stage – just – WOW is all that is left – no words.

There is this bittersweet emotion as well as seeing this cast for only the second time since the first show – while this takes away NOTHING from both cast and all involved, this element also was yet another element adding to the intensity and power of this last show.  There are scenes that resonate and JUST WON’T LEAVE me because of this and all the comments that have been addressed since the very first show.  In general, if that is possible to even state, the most powerful scenes became these moments:

The development of Nick and Serena through so much that occurs at PA

Tyrone and Iris becoming one through the throes of surviving through different life issues

Carmen – I mean all of it, even when she is gone, it just – agh – no words.

Mabel – I LOVE Mabel and can so relate to her diets, I have this problem with milkshakes.

Ms Sherman – I might not yet have ever seen a role that seemed so fitting and seeming as if she already was in charge of PA.

The development of Ms Bell, Ms Myers, Mr Sheinkopf, (oh my GOSH will a cowbell NEVER leave me memory, I wake UP to the sound of a cowbell thanks to Schlomo and Mr. Sheinkopf!)

I LOVE, LOVE LOVE LOVE the scene of Schlomo and that FU*%ing cowbell, maybe because it reminds me of my spazziness all through since, well, birth? – but I could see that scene 1000 times and still never ever, tire of it)

Of course, there is the serious side to Schlomo that is also amazing between Schlomo and Carmen

Grace “lambchop” and well, all you need to see – LOVE.

The creativity of the stage crew and directors, managers, sound production.

The appearance of the characters due to the depth of their costumes and makeup, and the spotlighting, so easy to take for granted, and so powerful when you take into consideration.

The AMAZING representation of the parents and their visibility, you want to hug every single one of them due to their commitment to the show, to their daughters/sons, and to their heart.

I knew we were onto something when, one of my most hysterical and humorous advocacy 10th grade students, would NOT STOP SINGING “I want to make Magic”…over, and over and over (it has been five days now) – but that – THAT SAYS alot.

I almost want to go back into every single moment and relive, recomment, but it is AMAZING how draining it is to try and cover so much that meant so much during this run, and again, I am only speaking from a spectator’s position, so imagine those involved with the life of FAME from beginning to end, those you see and don’t see.

The graduation scene KILLS you.  I get teary-eyed at CAPPING ceremony, so yes, of course, the symbolims of this coming to an end, ugh.  Killer heart string puller.

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I have to do this, I want to name names so bad but I won’t – but receiving this email, this excerpt is AMAZING.  Just read.

” I believe every person to have a very unique spark, and I also believe that every spark can be turned into an explosion…And for that reason I’ve learned to value every single little detail presented in my life and treasure it as I keep going. Because those little things are the ones that make the difference. The difference between having your feet landed or not I guess. I know for a fact that there are times and will continue to be, where not everything will be easy, and I will struggle. But even in the darkest moments there will be some type of light. Even if it is I tiny little spark, I try my hardest to focus on that tiny little one, even if I find myself in a big dark room.”

ALL I have to say is tears, total tears when I realized I was receiving this email and connecting this to what I had seen in Fame thus far.

I pride myself in trying to open the window of technology, the arts, and information and just grab onto everything.  This month is April of course, and National Poetry Month.  True, as a Media Specialist, Librarian, Media-technology-infatuated individual, I try to stretch myself in many, many areas to benefit myself and those around me.  The above has been, to date, probably the most profound element of poetry I have taking in – for longer than a can remember.  It is so so fitting this came from a member of Fame, because JUST like this last show that somehow manage to represent every single person involved from day-to-day every show and a whirlwind of emotion in the last one, the above comments can apply to EVERY SINGLE PERSON involved, and I was lucky enough to receive these words as well.   For reasons I could never put into words, I am one of the riches people IN THE WORLD to be able to spend time with such talented individuals, and be able to share a fraction of how they feel and experience this powerful experience.    Poetry Month for sure, there has been so much poetry of emotion, dancing, acting, technical skill, dialogue, and more in ways I never expected, Poetry Month of course has taken on a whole new meaning.

From the first day I decided to be a part of education, I never would have known how amazing and luck I would be to be surrounded and part of the days of growing with so many talented individuals and what dreams they would have and make occur.  As much as I want to say, “Yeah, I had a part in that…” I have to be honest, I would be absolutely nothing without their energy, vision, dreams, and vitality, nothing.  I never learned in my educational years in college how to handle these experiences that would reach in, touch your heart, and never let go.  In this case FAME did just that – and has the ability – if we let it – to never let go of our dream to live forever.  We will in some fashion if we are true to those very realistic dreams each of us cling to.

Of course the final words are difficult, but you just HAVE to be there to take it all in, HAVE TO BE. You see the packed Fine Arts Center, the final words that need to be said the celebration of everyone that makes it possible, of course it is FAME.  What else could it possibly be?  Yet redefining FAME was what became this productions greatest poetry they would ever write.  Bravo Fame – you made poetry every time you decided to light up the stage, and light up the stage you did.  Thank you for making each one of us want to feel as if we would live forever so many times.

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About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
This entry was posted in Drama Productions, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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